Current Affairs, News & Facts of 14 Oct 2015

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  • New species of  banana discovered on the Little Andaman islands

     

    New species of  banana discovered on the Little Andaman islands

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    • Team of scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of banana from a remote tropical rain forest on the Little Andaman islands
    • The new species, of banana which has been named as  "Musa indandamanensis" is sweet and has orange pulp. It was located about 16 km inside the Krishna Nalah forest in the island.

    Key facts about "Musa indandamanensis" :-

    • Scientists at Botanical Survey of India have describe it as a distinct global species with unique green flowers and fruit bunch lux (axis) thrice the size of a regular banana species.

    How is it different from regular banana ?

    • The new species is about 11 metres high, whereas as the usual banana species is about three to four metres high. The fruit lux of the new species is about one metres, which is thrice the size of regular species.
    • The tribal people on the island eat it. The fruit pulp is orange in colour, distinctive from the white and yellow colour of regular bananas. Unlike the other banana species whose flowers are conical, its flowers are cylindrical.

    Conservation as it has potential use :-

    • The number of plantains is very limited and the species needed conservation.The newly discovered plant has a relatively big fruit lux, the genes from the plant can be very useful in boosting banana production in the country.

    Approximately 52 species of banana are reported to occur in the wild across the world and 15 such species are reported to occur in India.

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  • Tamil Nadu Government bans anti-inflammatory drug, Ketoprofen to save vultures

     

    Tamil Nadu Government bans anti-inflammatory drug, Ketoprofen to save vultures

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    • Recently anti-inflammatory drug "Diclofenac" was banned by the Union Government to save critically endangered vultures and now Tamil Nadu state government has banned Ketoprofen, a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to save vulture population in the state.
    • Directorate of Animal Husbandry has decided to discontinue the use of Ketoprofen (used extensively for veterinary purposes) in Erode, Coimbatore and The Nilgiris, where the vulture population was in danger. Further use of Ketoprofen will be discontinued for veterinary purposes in the entire State.

    Diclofenac has severe impact on the population of vulture :-

    • The Centre had banned Diclofenac multi-vial doses after wildlife biologists proved that presence of the drug in the carcasses of the cattle caused the vulture population to dwindle drastically .
    • The drug is harmless to the cattle, but is fatal for the vultures, who routinely feed on the carcass of dead cattle. Studies have shown that the drug causes kidney and liver failure in vultures. 
    • Ketoprofen, which came as an alternative, caused the same effect on the vulture population. Meloxicam is an alternative drug which can be used instead of Diclofenac and Ketoprofen. 
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  • India gives USD 5 million grant to Palestine

     

    India gives USD 5 million grant to Palestine

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    • President Pranab Mukherjee is on his visit to Palestine where held talks with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and reiterated India’s economic and political support for the Palestinian. Mr. Mukherjee has arrived in Ramallah at a time when clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces are on the rise.
    • The President also handed over a cheque of USD 5 million to the Palestinian government as a budgetary support. Both countries have also announced five projects worth USD 17.79 million aimed at capacity building in the Palestinian territories.
    • The projects include a USD 12 million techno park, a USD 4.5 million Palestine Institute for Diplomacy and a USD 1 million India-Palestine Centre for Excellence in Gaza.

    Road in Palestine renamed after India :-

    • An important road and a roundabout in Palestine have been named after India, coinciding with the tour of President Pranab Mukherjee, the first Indian head of state to visit Palestine.
    • The Sharia-e-Al-hind (India road) and Midan-e-Al-hind (India roundabout) in Ramallah were named at a ceremony attended by Mukherjee and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
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  • Green Indian Mission plans approved for 4 states

     

    Green Indian Mission plans approved for 4 states

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    • Environment Ministry has approved annual plans of  National Mission for a Green India (GIM) for four states namely Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur and Jhakhand. 
    • The National Executive Council (NEC) which met recently, approved the Perspective Plans (PP) and Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) of Mizoram, Manipur, Jharkhand and Kerala in this regard.

    About Green Indian Mission (GIM) :-

    • Green Indian Mission (GIM) is one of the eight Missions outlined under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The mission acknowledges the influence forests have on environmental amelioration through climate change mitigation, food security, water security, biodiversity conservation and livelihood security of forest-dependent communities. 
    • The GIM hinges on decentralized participatory approach involving grass root level organizations and community in planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring. 

    Key approvals :-

    • Approval has been granted for alternative energy devices such as biogas, solar devices, LPG, biomass-based systems and improved stoves which will will help in reducing pressure on forests, gaining carbon benefits along with health and other associated benefits.
    • For the cuurent financial year the approval for energy devices has been granted for 27, 032 households and 81, 233 households for the total plan period.
    • The total forest and non-forest area taken up in the four states under GIM during the total plan period will be 1, 08,335 hectares, out of which 81,939 ha will be improving the density of existing forests and 16, 396 ha will be new areas.

    Financial assistance :-

    NEC has approved the PP of all four states with a total financial outlay of Rs 90,202.68 lakh for a plan period of five to ten years years along with APOs of Rs 11,195.32 lakh for this financial year. 

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  • Iran’s Parliament gives Preliminary approval for Nuclear Deal

     

     Iran’s Parliament gives Preliminary approval for Nuclear Deal

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    Iran's parliament has given it's preliminary backing by approval of a bill that allows the government to implement a historic nuclear deal reached with world powers.Under the bill, the Iranian government will be authorized to withdraw from implementation of the deal if the other side fails to lift sanctions against Iran. The bill also says that International inspectors would have only limited access to military sites.

    Background of the nuclear deal :-

    • The Iran nuclear deal framework is a preliminary framework agreement reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran and a group of world powers: the P5+1 US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany), plus the European Union in July 2015 after 20 months of negotiations.
    • Once this deal framework is finalized and implemented, it would lift most of the sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear programs extending for at least ten years

    History of Sanction Imposed on Iran (20016- July 2015)

    United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had imposed sanction on Iran between 2006-2015 after Iran refused to suspend its uranium enrichment program. The four rounds of UN sanctions included:-

    • A ban on the supply of heavy weaponry and nuclear-related technology to Iran
    • A block on arms exports
    • An asset freeze on key individuals and companies.

    U.S. also imposed sanctions on Iran and  targeted investments in oil, gas and petrochemicals, exports of refined petroleum products, and business dealings with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

    The EU also imposed its own sanctions, among them:-

    • Restrictions on trade in equipment which could be used for uranium enrichment
    • An asset freeze on a list of individuals and organisations that the EU believed were helping advance the nuclear programme, and a ban on them entering the EU
    • A ban on any transactions with Iranian banks and financial institutions

    Ban on the import, purchase and transport of Iranian crude oil and natural gas - the EU had previously accounted for 20% of Iran's oil exports. European companies were also stopped from insuring Iranian oil shipments.

    These sanctions took a toll on the economy of Iran and created economic crisis so Iran was force to shut down it's nuclear program and signed an accord with world powers.

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  • Jioji Konrote becomes Fiji’s President

     

    Jioji Konrote becomes Fiji’s President

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    • The parliament  of  Fiji has elected Jioji Konousi Konrote, the minister for employment, productivity and industrial relations as it's next president.
    • In the presidential election held in parliament, Konrote, nominated by the ruling FijiFirst party, garnered 31 votes, while the opposition's candidate Ratu Epeli Ganilau received 14 votes

    How is President elected in Fiji ?

    • As per Fiji's constitution, the prime minister and leader of the opposition each submit a presidential candidate to the speaker of parliament, who then announces the nominees to MPs before the parliament decides on the Pacific island country's next president with a majority vote.

    About Jioji Konousi Konrote :-

    • Konrote, is a retired major general who joined RFMF in 1966 and trained with New Zealand and Australian defence forces. 
    • He has studied in the instutions such as the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies and the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, Australia, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2000.
    • He has commanded  Fijian soldiers in their peacekeeping efforts in Lebanon during the Fiji's UNIFIL campaign. Konrote has also served as Fiji's High Commissioner to Australia from 2001 to 2006.
    • He has also served as Minister of State for Immigration briefly in 2006, and as Minister for Employment Opportunities, Productivity and Industrial Relations from 2014 to 2015.
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  • PS Jayakumar takes over as MD and CEO of Bank of Baroda

     

    PS Jayakumar takes over as MD and CEO of Bank of Baroda

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    • P S Jayakumar, the former chief executive of VBHC Value Homes has been appointed as the new MD and CEO of the state-owned Bank of Baroda.
    • BOB has been without a full-time CEO since August 2014. The last full time CMD was S S Mundra, who moved to Reserve Bank of India as deputy governor in July 2014. 
    • P S Jayakumar has joined Bank of Baroda at a time when the bank is under the investigation for an alleged fraud and black money transactions worth over Rs 6,000 crore. 
    • 53-year-old Jayakumar is a Chartered Accountant by qualification and additionally holds a PG diploma in business management from XLRI, Jamshedpur. He is a career banker and has spent over 23 years with Citigroup in India and Singapore starting from 1986.

    Bank of Baroda  involvement in Money Laundering Case of  Rs. 6000 Crore :-

    • Last week, it was alleged that a whopping Rs 6,172 crore was remitted from Bank of Baroda to Hong Kong camouflaged as payments for non-existent imports like cashew, pulses and rice. The amount was allegedly deposited in 59 accounts in cash as advance for imports that never existed. 
    • Money was being transferred through 59 accounts at the bank's Ashok Vihar (New Delhi) branch to companies in Hong Kong and Dubai. The money was disguised as payments for imports.
    • Four persons, including an HDFC bank employee have been arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) under money laundering charges in the Rs 6,000 crore suspicious remittances case at a Bank of Baroda (BoB) branch in the national capital.

     

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  • Reliance Power appoints N Venugopala Rao as CEO

     

    Reliance Power appoints N Venugopala Rao as CEO

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    • The Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power has appointed N Venugopala Rao as its Chief Executive Officer. Rao, an MBA in Finance & Marketing, is a power sector professional having over 34 years of experience. 
    • Rao joined the company in 2009 as Senior Vice President (Finance and Accounts) and was elevated to Chief Financial Officer with effect from December 31, 2012.
    • He was appointed as the CEO of Sasan Power Limited, the company's largest subsidiary, which has developed the world's largest integrated coal mine and power project with an investment of nearly Rs 27,000 crore, with effect from September 1, 2014. 
    • He has a rich experience of handling various large power projects in NTPC Limited as well as in Independent Power Producers (IPPs) developed by Reliance Power Limited and Lanco Infratech Limited. 

    Reliance Power:-

    • Reliance Power, a part of the Reliance Group, is a private sector power generation and coal resources company. It has the largest portfolio of power projects in the private sector, based on coal, gas, hydro and renewable energy, with an operating portfolio of 5,945 MW.
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